When Rod Crawford (Curator of Arachnids at Burke Museum) received the specimens sent to him, he was in for a little surprise. Expecting the spiders to be the Mediterranean Recluse, when he dissected them, he found them to be L.reclusa, the real Brown Recluse. When he spoke to his friend, Rick Vetters, who happens to be a Brown Recluse expert, Vetters said it is not the first time a building in Michigan has been found to have the Brown Recluse, but the amount of times it has happened can be counted on one hand. That is how rare of an occurance this is.
Mr. Crawford had given Sabrina the name of an exterminating company based here in Michigan and with the backing of such qualified professionals as Mr. Crawford and Mr. Vetters, Sabrina was taken seriously. They showed up to her house with an entomologist, looked around, searched the crawl space and left with a few more specimens. She told me from the things they said, she felt good about it all, but she mentioned that even they seemed a little excited over the ordeal.
When Sabrina asked Mr. Crawford how old he thought the spiders were, he said he would estimate them around 1.5 to 1.7 years old. Since she moved into her home a year and a half ago, it seems highly unlikely that she brought the Recluse home from one of her trips. The only explanation I have at this time, as to how it happened to come to Michigan, is that the people who lived in her home before her, must have brought them in. Maybe they never knew they had any, or maybe it is the reason they moved out. We will likely never know. But I would like to make it clear at this ppoint, that the Brown recluse is not indigenous to Michigan, and this extremely rare occurrence is nothing more than just that. A rare occurrence.
It was a wild ride these spiders took us on in the recent weeks. A ride I am sure Sabrina and her husband and kids did not always enjoy very much. A ride I am equally as sure they will enjoy telling in years to come. A lot of people in Michigan will try to say they have had Brown Recluse Spiders in their homes, but a vast majority of them have no idea what a Brown recluse really looks like. Sabrina will join a very exclusive club as someone who actually did have them.
The Michigan DNR mentions one case of a confirmed sighting of the Brown Recluse. MSU's entomology department has articles stating three different cases. Assuming they were totally different cases, that is only four confirmed sightings ever in Michigan that I have uncovered. Now there are five, and I cannot help but to feel some satisfaction in knowing I was a small part of it.
I cannot put to words how much I appreciated the help and/or just the plain kindness in such individuals like, Rod Crawford and Mike Draney while communicating with them. Most of all however, I was impressed with Sabrina Gazzarato. It must have been very distressing to go through this, especially with children, and yet she has been nothing less than a joy to communicate with. I know she was feeling some panic at times, but she has kept a very good sense of humor through it as well as a kindness in sending a live Recluse to me, and I truly hope the extermination and cleaning up after it all, goes quick and painless for her.
I know she will not agree with this, but I am almost sad to see it all come to a conclusion. It has been a pleasure on my end of things to do what little I could, and this has been without a doubt, the most exciting experience I have had through Michigan Spiders.
As the conclusion of this story comes to an end, if and when there are any updates, I will make them.